Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. ~Philippians 4:8~

FOLLOW


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Of Christmas Gifts

This song and video brings the message about what Christmas should really be about. The greatest gift of all time- redemption! Thank you Father for the gift of your Son!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Social Network Christmas

I found this while surfing the web. Imagine if you will......



What a timely and clever way to tell a story. Enjoy!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Thursday, December 2, 2010

New Ancient Diamond

I just 'rediscovered' this gem:

He has filled them with skill to do all kinds of work as craftsmen, designers, embroiderers in blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen, and weavers—all of them master craftsmen and designers.  ~Exodus 35:35~

I love it!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

For Today

All I can do is one step at a time. Not every day is great, but being alive and able to put one foot in front of the other is good. Good will do quite nicely. See? I feel better already! Above all, God is good! Note to self: Until next time- Have a little faith.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving Day!



Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! May your gatherings with family be joyful and your plates be full of the bounty and blessings the Lord gives us. If traveling, stay safe! God bless us all!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

No Chile For You!

I am still learning things about myself during this leg of my journey. I have learned that I'm really quite stubborn, and if left to my own devices will try and find a way to eat those things which may or may not be healthy for me. I'm learning that it's a good thing I went ahead with the bariatric surgery, or else I'd never have lost the weight, even though I kept telling myself for years that I could do it if I only just tried a little harder.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Fiber Festival Sights

Over the weekend we made a little trip to Boerne where the Kid n' Ewe Fiber Festival was held. If you know anything about me, you know that I love to spin fiber. Not that I do it very often, but the spinning bug usually bites me around this time of year. So of course this festival is one I try not to miss.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

More Tags

Lots to do but I'm slowly getting items checked off my list. Listed some of the tags I've been working on at the shop. I call these my line of Scripture Items. It was fun making these, and even if no one picks them up, I know I can surely use them.





Also an oldie but goodie for Christmas- Feliz Navidad!



More to come soon!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Pizza Photos

Now that I'm using my regular computer, I can post the pictures of the pizzas I made last month and which I mentioned in a post  Made with my sourdough starter and using all purpose and semolina flours, we liked it. We being my little one and myself. Sweetie is not partial to blue cheese or figs on a pizza. I say every once in a while, it's nice to eat something different, as long as it's made at home.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Tribute To Servicemen and Their Spouses


I really got to thinking about the sacrifices that our men and women in the armed forces and their spouses make day in and day out after reading Kim's last blog entry. With this being Veteran's Day, I felt it important to write myself a reminder of sorts that there is so much I take for granted, like the liberties and privileges we enjoy in our country because of those serving in the military.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Crafting Around

Note: I'm not sure why the pictures posted are not centered. When making the entries they show up correctly.

My Sweetie finally had some time to work on our main computer 
and was able to get it back up and running. Which was a really good and timely thing, because I needed to upload some of the cards and tags I've been working on to the shop.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Like Us!

Fellow bloggie friend and hip craftster Michell of Girl In Air has created a Facebook page to help promote a few of our Etsy shops, which I think is a wonderful idea. The page is called Me And My Etsy Friends and I'm asking anyone who reads this blog to please visit the site and click on the "Like" button. Once the page hits 200 fans we will be having weekly giveaways. We're just starting out, but we know that with your help it won't be long before we can really start to have fun with one day only sale promotions and our own giveaways. More importantly, your help in participating helps to support the handmade and homemade crafting movement. There are so many talented artisans whose work can only be appreciated through venues such as Etsy, and we hope this Facebook page can be instrumental in bringing some of those creations to you in the comfort of your home. And as they say, for your Holiday shopping let your fingers do the walking!

Visit our page and Like us. We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy With My Wins!

A few days ago I entered a giveaway on the Ranger blog for a chance to win a set of 12 Perfect Pearls Mists which retail for around $60. I buy a lot of their products for my tag and cardmaking hobby. Yesterday, I was notified that I was one of the winners. They posted the announcement of the three winners and I have to say it is so thrilling to see my name on the list! Just one more thing to be super excited and happy about these days!

On another note, on my visit to the bariatric Dr. today I was very pleased to find that I have lost 30 pounds since the surgery six weeks ago. That added to the 18-20 pounds I lost before the surgery gives me a total weight loss of  almost 50 pounds! The change in eating habits has certainly paid off. Walking has surely contributed greatly to the weight loss. Consistency is also crucial.

I've been away from the computer keeping busy with my first love- baking. I've brought my sourdough back to life and boy is it strong this time around! I've finally found a really trustworthy recipe I can rely on for making sourdough pizza with no commercial yeast whatsoever. I like that! Although I can only enjoy a thin slice, I enjoy making pizzas quite a lot. I recently discovered a great video/tutorial site from the New York Times which features an amazing young lady who is able to churn out great recipes from a tiny New York City apartment. She shared a video of an amazing pizza she made with figs, bacon, caramelized onions, and gorgonzola cheese. I made said pizza yesterday using my sourdough and it was probably the best pizza I have ever made. I highly recommend her recipe- although I would suggest using her commercial yeast dough recipe- unless of course you happen to have your own sourdough starter. I'll be sure to post pictures of my pizza soon, when I get our computer from the shop.

And now, I'm off to get ready for my support group meeting. Until next time, have a little faith!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Better To Feel His Love

My dear friend Beverly wrote such a beautiful post, I just know she was led of the Lord to write it. And I think perhaps he had me in mind to read it. As of late, I've been having a few physical struggles, none too great, but difficult nonetheless. So it's wonderful to read something that speaks to the heart of all our struggles, that feeling you get when you feel as though no one can possibly understand what you're going through. And the answer is simple, it's all right there in his word, in his book of love and sacrifice- the Holy Bible.

But what is absolutely awesome to me is how pain and suffering can bring us closer to our creator and to his love- if we only pause to think of him and to try to listen to his voice. And even more awesome is the way he uses people to bring the messages we need to hear to increase our faith and our growth. Even through cyberspace! Another sweet friend, Diane also gave me the words I needed to feel encouraged in one of her comments.

And so it is that once again, I feel encouraged and motivated to write another post, this time to share that I just walked 15 blocks again! Oh what a feeling! It's just a sort of note to myself to remind me that yes I can do this! This morning I was crying feeling sorry for myself, and here I am, full of hope again. God is good!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Journey Update

This journey has definitely not been easy! And it's only been three weeks since the surgery. In that time, I am trying to adapt to the limitations of my stomach- and it seems as though it's all very much still about eating. Let's face it- we can't get away from food and the perils thereof, no matter how much we wish we could. There are days when I think if only I could just not eat at all, I think I could do that, just for the sake of not having all the new 'learning' issues. But then I start to feel shaky and nauseous and I know that is due to blood sugar levels; therefore, to dining I must go! In the weight loss department, I will be honest and say that my weight has pretty much remained steady. That might sound good, but I'm supposed to be losing weight, and I'm not. I will be at the same weight for a week, lose a pound or two, then go back to the same weight again. So while that's not inherently bad, because I haven't gained weight, it's also not a sign of real progress. I've also learned that food no longer gives me pleasure. Now I really do eat because I HAVE to, not just because I have a craving. In fact, more often than not, I can't even enjoy food anymore. Most of the time it causes me discomfort if I don't chew properly. I also am not supposed to drink anything with my meals. That just takes the whole fun out of eating! I well remember how nice a big tall glass of limeade full of ice went with my meals, or a big tall glass of iced tea. Well, that is a thing of the past. The other night I had a small craving for some root beer from Sonic. As my Sweetie drove up to the window to order a small root beer for us to share as opposed to the Route 44 I used to drink, I remarked how this was the land of no more for me. I can never look at fast food establishments and think of the things I can order. No more. The land of no more. I just want to arrive at the land of people who can cross their legs. I'll be happy with that. Fast food is so not worth it any more.

In the second front- exercise- I am happy to say I am being more successful with that. In fact what motivated me to write this update is the fact that I just walked 15 blocks! That may not sound like much for those who walk or jog miles, but to me, it's monumental! Prior to the surgery, I could only walk 3 or 4 blocks, and I'd be huffing and puffing all out of breath.  Now, I come back drenched in perspiration, but with a steady, even breathing pattern. I attribute this newly found ability not only to a lighter weight on my shoulders, but to the use of a handy little gadget- my teensy tiny Ipod Shuffle. It's weightless, does not interfere with my movements, and the rhythm of the music helps my gait and steps to be better coordinated. I highly recommend it if you're about to try walking. Today, I had to charge it, so I used my IPhone's IPod, but I didn't like it as much as the shuffle. Whatever the reason, I'm feeling great! It is true about exercise making you feel good. I think that feeling comes when you don't overdo it though. Your body tells you just how much it can endure, and you should never try to go beyond that, at least not when you're starting out.

I am also finding that attending support meetings give me a great sense of inspiration. They are a tremendous resource of information and guidance for staying focused and for being successful. They really do jump start your energy when you start to feel less than successful. So I intend to keep up with that. My family also helps, or course, because they know me better than anyone on this earth, and their encouragement is priceless. But my greatest source of strength is God. He guides me, he helps me, he touches the hearts of the people around me. To him be all praise and honor and glory!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

And Then There Were Seven

I have wonderful memories of the Saturday just before my surgery. That day, we had planned on leaving quite early for a little getaway with all the family to Corpus Christi. However, since my surgery was on Monday, I had to get the last batch of necessary lab work done no later than 48 hours prior to the surgery, so there was no way I could have gotten it done in the preceding days. So around 7am I went to the hospital to get that done and out of the way. Then off to the beach we went!

Funny and wonderful how our little family has increased. First the two of us with our two boys, then a beautiful daughter-in-law, and now two adorable little boys who fill us with joy. My eldest Son and his family had rented a room at a hotel/resort right next to the beach, so we just drove up and met with them.

It was a beautiful day, albeit hot, with a brilliant blue sky and only a few soft puffy clouds visible beyond the horizon. A perfect day for being at the beach, and our first real getaway with our youngest Son in quite a while.



It wasn't easy to keep from thinking about the upcoming ordeal that I knew would not be easy. It wasn't easy to shoo away the thoughts of my mortality, wondering if I would ever have sweet moments like this with my family again. It wasn't easy at all. But then I would see the faces of my loved ones, and I knew then, that no matter what lay ahead, this made it all worth it.



So I decided, right then and there, no drama, no tears, no sadness. Just live the moment and enjoy the blessings.



Notwithstanding, the trip did not erase the questions which have plagued me for years. There will always be moments in time when everyone asks why things have to be the way they are. For me it was why couldn't I have a normal weight with a normal physique? Moments where you wonder how in the world did I get myself into this mess? As an obese person, you ask and you wonder how food ever became such an issue and of so much importance in your life. You look at people and you wonder how is it that they are able to maintain a normal body without the constant cravings that you try every day to fight off. Is it genetic? I am the only 'fat' person in my whole family. I heard once that my biological Father's Mother was a large woman. Well, I'm petite, but the pounds really show on my small frame. Is it the environment of poor quality foods which are so abundant and more affordable than healthy food?

And so I'm off to try a new chapter in my life; a chapter full of hope for attaining a normal weight. The sun never sets on my hopes. They are always full of faith and knowledge that whatever the final outcome of this whole journey, it is in God's hands.



And I will work very hard to reach my goals. Because so much is riding on this.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

On The Other Side- I Made It!

Back in May, I wrote a somewhat cryptic post, which left a few of my friends here puzzled and wondering what I was writing about. I apologize for sounding so vague. At the time I was not ready to share all my fears. I also was not certain that I could actually go through with the ordeal I was contemplating to undergo. I chose to chronicle my journey. The following is my contribution to fill in the gaps since that post. I hope the information will also be of help to anyone contemplating bariatric surgery. This is a long post, the better to journal my experiences:

I think that henceforth, my life will be a tale of either before or after the surgery I just put myself through. I use the term 'put myself through' because technically, it was not an absolute necessity, and I could have opted out and kept on living as before. Up until the moment they were wheeling me to the operating room I was crying, desperately wanting to scream "I don't want to do this!". I knew I was seconds away from the slumber of anesthesia, with no voice or say to add to anything that happened in the next moments of my life.


For almost two years, I studied and researched bariatric surgery, going back and forth between 'yes I want to do this', and 'no this is just too darn drastic for my taste'. Sometime during that phase, a bariatric surgeon opened an office here in town, and I went to my second Bariatric Seminar. I had attended one in San Antonio because that was the closest I would have been able to go for the procedure. Now the surgery was available in my city, but even then I was not convinced. That particular physician's route to surgery for his patients required a pretty long amount of time, as you had to be under a nutritionist's care for months, as well as undergo all the required exams and paperwork, before the surgery could be performed. And then another Surgeon opened offices as well, in another local Hospital. I attended the first of his Seminars this past April, after a slew of television commercials showing many patient success stories. I proceeded to attend several support meetings. I wanted to meet and talk to those patients, to ask them questions. The most prominent in my mind was the level of pain, and to know how they decided among the three types of surgery available. I learned that gastric bypass is the most drastic of the three, but the most successful route for consistent and permanent weight loss. The other problem I saw with it was that because the procedure rendered your  digestive system with gastrointestinal malabsorption problems, thus you would have to take multivitamins for the rest of your life. The lap band was something I would not have considered, because it made for having to make multiple trips to the Dr.'s office for readjusting. The next option, a gastric sleeve, sounded more like something I could look at. That procedure called for removing about 2/3 of the stomach, with the remainder left shaped like a slender, banana shaped 'sleeve'. Hence the name. The down side to that procedure, was that weight loss could cease if enough caloric content was eaten, however small the amount of food. The pros were that it was not as invasive (well it is invasive) as a bypass, and one only need to take vitamins for a year. All three procedures were laparoscopic, meaning the Surgeon uses robotic like tools to make small incisions in the abdominal area as well as for the whole procedure. This translates to faster healing of the wounds, but certainly not an absence of pain, as I was soon to find out. I knew that whichever procedure I chose, it had to be coupled with exercise in addition to eating a healthier diet. But in going back to the subject of how long the whole process took from beginning to end I would have to say it was brief and fast. My Lab work was done in late May, and the remaining exams and appointments were completed by early July. My surgery date was August 16, so it took less than 3 months from initiating the process to the day of surgery.

One other requirement for the surgery was that I had to lose 5% of my weight before surgery. About two weeks before surgery I was told I had to lose a little more. Between the start of my journey into surgery and the day of surgery, I lost about 18 lbs. It doesn't sound like much, but to me, it's substantial. My experience is unique, and I know every one's is different. A couple of days before surgery, to add to the discomfort of the whole experience, I started my monthly cycle. I was mortified, because I wondered how I could possibly lean forward to change pads and undergarments- not to mention showering! The thing that kept going through my mind was what if I rupture the stitches and staples! Believe it or not, as hard and painful as it was, I somehow got through all that.

I did suffer before the surgery. I was a mess of nerves and anxiety. The thing which kept me sane was the thought that I had to do this for my family. I know everyone said to me I should do this for myself. But realistically, if I hadn't cared enough about my health before to stop overeating, I wasn't about to go under the knife for 'my health' either. I knew my focus had to be on what I loved most next to my Creator: my family. I knew they wanted and needed a healthier Wife/Mom/Grandma in their lives. They understood even better than I did that I was a very unhappy camper with a poor quality of life. I drew strength from their encouragement to go through with the surgery. It was my beloved Husband who stood by me through every moment prior, during, and after. And even now, continues to help me in all the things which I could not possibly do on my own.

Of the things which lead up to the day,  I will write about on another post. For now, I will share that when I awoke from the anesthesia, I immediately felt pain. I could only moan softly, and it felt like even breathing hurt. I remember hearing other women moaning in the recovery room. I assume some of them had also undergone the same surgery. The Dr. who performed the surgery usually operated on Mondays and Tuesdays, doing about 5 operations a day. I believe I was the last one on that Monday last week. Thankfully, I would doze off intermittently, but then awake to the realization that I was in pain and discomfort. I barely remember finally being wheeled to my room, where my Husband was waiting. After a few minutes, a nurse came in to instruct me that I any time I wished I could press the little 'morphine' pump to release the pain killer. It was set to release only the amount needed. I barely remember it, but I know I did press that little button a few times! When my eldest Son and his family came in, I instantly felt exponentially better. Just the sight of my two little Grandsons provided relief. I could actually talk! Funny how love is such a powerful pain killer.

My surgery took place around 2:30PM last Monday. My Sweetie tells me I was brought to my room around 4:30PM. One of the things which causes great discomfort is a buildup of air in the abdominal area. I'm told they fill your stomach with air to check for signs of leakage. But I'm not too clear on that, so I may be mistaken. In any case, it wasn't until about 9PM that I asked to go to the bathroom to relieve my bladder, which was full due to all the liquids from the I.V. I then told my Sweetie I should probably walk to relieve the gas buildup, since I was already up anyway. And so it was that each time I got up during the night to go to the bathroom, I would walk the hallways. It was so painful, and I remember walking so slow, barely creeping along. One of the things I had worried about prior to surgery was the knowledge that I would not be allowed to drink water or any fluids until the day after surgery. I worried because I normally always drank a ton of water. I just really loved drinking water and ice! And I worried that I would be dying of thirst. Interestingly, I never once felt thirsty, I think because I was just in so much pain. Therefore before I was allowed to drink any liquids I had to undergo a test the next day. I had to drink a vile tasting liquid, then stand in front of an x-ray type machine, and told to swallow. The xray doctor would then examine those pictures and then report to the Dr. if there were any leaks in the stomach. Once I got clearance, my first meal there consisted of chicken broth, jello gelatin, and water.

I was released later that second day, but not before a visit from the Dr and the nutritionist. Once home, that first week all I could take were broths and juices. I was instructed to keep myself well hydrated and to drink plenty of water. It wasn't until the fourth day that I actually felt better. And every day since then I've had a lot of improvement. I try to walk a lot, and to drink plenty of fluids. I've continued to lose weight, but not as fast as I would like since beginning to eat soft food. The real test will be when I am free to eat 'real' food. For now I'm just happy to be able to say I made it to the other side of the anesthesia and the surgery. I did worry that I might never wake up from that. I also know that in the moments before the surgery I could have been braver and called the whole thing off. But I opted instead to just commend myself to the Lord, and let him operate on my behalf. I am thankful that he did. Now, I pray the Lord will see me through everything that lays ahead always and throughout my days on this Earth.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ode To My Abuelita

"You want to come to the beach with me Grandma?"


What is an Abuelita? She is that old woman who bears gifts and treats when you see her, whose eyes are always twinkling with love, and whose gray hair shines like spun silver. She is that solid tree under whose shelter you run when Mommy and Daddy sound too stern to bear. You know she can never say no to your requests. And you cry with so much sadness when you say goodbye after a long or even a very short visit. She is the reason you always pray to God that she will be around for many, many years- at least until you're all grown up, so the pain won't be so great when the final goodbye must be said. You know she has walked many a mile in the scorching heat to bring you the best ice cream she can afford. She always had coins in her pocket for your afternoon snack- those tasty tostadas or mango or cucumber on a skewer, all liberally sprinkled with lime juice and chile powder. And during those long ago dog days of Summer, you could always count on her for a refreshing and icy cold paleta or raspa- meaning popsicle or snow cone. She would set up the washtub and fill it with water, your favorite  bath in the world, just so you could jump in for a cooling dunk on those hot days. And during the Winter, she would bundle you up, and make sure there was plenty of wood or coals in the fire to keep you warm.

Fast forward fifty years later. Here I am with two precious Grandbabies of my own. I so want to be just like my Abuelita. And you know what? I think I'm getting there. Now that they've begun to talk, I am relishing every moment I am able to spend with them. The sweetest word to an Abuelita's ears? Grandma! My little munchkins are not bilingual just yet, so they're only able to speak English, but I like the word Grandma so very much! The word Abuelita may have to be learned a little later. The word Grandpa also thrills me beyond words! What is it about these two little human beings that they are able to wrap my heart around their little fingers? When I was growing up I always heard that you love your Grandchildren more than your own children. In my youthful ignorance, I could not understand that. The fact is, you love them just as much as your own, only now there is a sweetness so undescribable in the love you feel. I think it's the aftertaste of wisdom. A wisdom which tells you that they won't always be little and helpless. That soon they will be fledglings- testing their wings and their limits. That time is short and fleeting. And that there is but just enough time to pass on as much love and kindness and goodness that you possibly can. Life gives enough of the other things, Your station and your calling and your duty is to pass on those things which you hope will impact their lives in a positive way. Their parents will too of course, but they have so much responsibility and weight to bear, that sometimes along the way, it's easy to lose track of those things which matter most. It's the same for ALL parents. As Grandparents, I just want us to add even more good things to their lives- a sort of complement and enhancement. I want to do what my Abuelita did. She provided so many wonderful memories, and they did serve a very useful purpose. They helped to soften the blows of life. Through all the difficult times, her love and the memories of her kindness confirmed in me that there really are good people, that God really does love me, and that I came from good stock. A good genetic pool. Oh, maybe not poets or scientists or playwrights- but people with a good heart. I do believe that is what God wants of us, among other things. And I want Elias and Owen to always know that. Already Elias has shown he too has a good heart. He did call me on the phone to tell me "I'm feeling much better Grandma. You want to come to the beach with us?" Not many adults will take the time to let their Parents know they are feeling better when they've been sick so they won't worry. But my precious little three year old nietecito did.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Filling In The Gaps


I'm constantly finding new and interesting things on the internet. Just found out I can earn some pennies merely by using Twitter. I'm not greedy, so a dollar earned here and there I feel is a good thing. I think that finding an honest way to make a little revenue is nothing to be ashamed of. I don't let it take over my life, I merely make use of the tools at hand whilst doing what I come online to do anyway. If I'm going to search, I will use Google, but will also use Swagbucks for a chance to increase my gift card stash. If I'm going to Tweet, I might as well take a moment to tweet for a sponsor. It's all about taking an extra minute or two and then just letting the income build up. It will be a slow process perhaps, but I'm not in a hurry, so it's ok. I guess I want to feel that as a housewife I can contribute a little to the budget, even if it's not a lot. So for now at least, I'm enjoying doing these little tasks. Very soon, I won't be able to be much on the computer, but for now, I'll have a little fun. I expect I'll make a post when I'm on the other side of the ordeal, and I can fill in all the gaps and holes I've left behind from not blogging consistently. Please just humor me. Someone once said that life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're going to get. As long as it's fun, and especially if it includes some chocolate, it's all good. This journey we're on is like being on an airplane. You have to wait for the end of the ride, cause you can't just get up and jump out a window. You sit there patiently and quietly (well, maybe not so quietly) trying to find things to occupy your mind and your time. The trick is to make sure those 'things' are good and positive and worthwhile. All along you hope that better things await you when the ride/trip does finally end.

Oh my! I'm just full of metaphors today, aren't I? Well, I haven't blogged in a while, but I will say that I've been keeping myself busy working on creating the neatest little tags and greeting cards. Still haven't gotten my sewing inspiration back, but I have faith it will all come back to me when I'm in a better state of mind. I seriously want to post pictures of my little projects, but I've been too lazy to take pictures. I will surely do so soon. Until next time, have a little faith.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Of Things That Touch My Heart

Earlier, I happened upon an article in the newspaper that I knew I simply had to follow up and try to find the video. It wasn't front page news, just a small article about a Jewish Holocaust survivor who after 63 years was able to visit the Auschwitz death camp where he had been a prisoner. The wonderful thing about the story is the fact that he was able to go there again with his Grandchildren! And to dance upon the soil which had been the victor of his nightmares, no doubt. I was touched deeply at this fine example of the triumph of the human spirit.The music selected for this video is perfect-the better to depict what it is to be a true survivor. I viewed the video with tears running down my face, because I fully comprehend the significance of this victory dance. I could sense and feel the mixture of joy and sorrow- a bittersweet illustration of being able to still smile and laugh and dance after all the pain endured. I cannot even begin to imagine being able to look back at the horror which he lived in the flesh, with such strength and dignity. I hope the video goes viral and millions are able to see it. We must never forget.



Sunday, June 27, 2010

Se Parece A Sara



Se parece a Sara, a mi pequena hermana, con su mirada dulce
Y sonrisa fragil. En los anos pasados, en el mar del olvido,
Se quedaron palabras, momentos, se quedaron recuerdos.

Se olvidaron las risas, y secretos de ninas
Los momentos de hermandad, que jamas se borraran.
Permanecen retratos, permanecen juguetes, que a traves de los anos,
Se cubren de polvo, o se rompen por maltrato.

Me pregunto si en ese entonces, supiera lo que hoy sabemos,
Que aun el llamado de la sangre, se calla con el dolor
Y razona la consiensa, que la culpa no es de nadie,
Cuando las cosas asi se dan.

Y la pintura del artista, trajo a mis recuerdos,
a esa nina tan bonita, a mi hermana, mi hermanita Sara.
~YayaOrchid~

Friday, June 4, 2010

Poetic Judgment

     "Choosing" by George Frederick Watts (1817-1904)

She should have,
She ought have,
She must have,
But she didn't.

Didn't feel the bond, didn't feel the love
Didn't care to stay, didn't want to care.
Once  the lightness was felt, the emptyness revealed,
the freedom from the burden, the release from the obligation,
There was no turning back.

Life awaited, youth beckoned, and new opportunities, rose into view.
Few can refuse to live life unfettered,
When hope and youth cling weakly on a battered thread,
Tossed about by the relentless wind.

No questions asked,
No questions remain,
No judgement for choices,
No rancor for pain.

Life goes on, without missing a beat.
The world still revolves, the tides still come ashore.
All measured in years, or measured in tears,
The worth of a life, whether cherished or not.
~YayaOrchid~

Monday, May 31, 2010

Proof Is In The Pudding

Told ya Swagbucks was legit! This is footage from an NBC affiliate in Atlanta:



I had to share this again, though I had said I wouldn't because the site really has become very popular.
I know people have apprehensions thinking it's a scam or a spammy site. It's a very legitimate site which earns you digital dollars which translate to real dollars when you redeem them. I've chosen to redeem mine for Amazon gift cards, and already I've got $120 since I started in December. It's not a lot, but it's also money I wouldn't have if I had gone on only using the regular search engines like Google or Yahoo. This one pays you to search! You really should give it a try, you have nothing to lose but you'll have the chance to gain some swag for your Holiday shopping. Click on my link in the left sidebar or the link at the start of this post. If you do decide to join, email me and I will give you a bunch of tips to help you earn those Swagbucks faster.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Journey Begins


And so begins another phase. The steps are tiny and hesitant- quite unsteady and unsure. Yet every journey whether only begun or finished starts with the first step. Time will tell if this is one which will be finished. Sometimes it feels as though I'm grasping at straws and flailing my arms desperately trying to find that life saving flotation device.
That is why I have not mentioned this before to anyone. I don't know yet what the outcome will be. But then,  does anyone? This is the week when it all begins for me. And I'm scared, yes I am. I'm also full of
hope.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Samples and Saving Money

I found this great website, It's All Free Online, which has links to various freebies you can send off for. The site also has a Facebook page where you are more likely to find all the newest offers daily. I think it's a great way to sample products before you buy them. It's also a great way to stretch those budget dollars. Aren't we all looking for ways to save a little money? This is just a small sampling of the items I've received thus far:


It's so nice to receive a package in the mail every day!



The fact is there are actually several sites that offer similar promotions. Some sites are nice to sign up for if you like to clip coupons. I usually clip coupons from the Sunday flyers in our newspaper. I don't want to have to use up our printer ink to print out coupons. For our printer at least, ink cartidges are very expensive. Although now there are some really nifty IPhone apps that allow you to have the cashier just scan the coupons off your phone. Neat! I haven't tried that yet, although I believe I do have an app for that.

It just takes a few minutes to fill out the forms for these samples. I hope the links are useful to others as they've been for me.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Nopalitos and Other Ramblings

I finally did it! I actually went and cut some pencas de nopal, or cactus paddles, fresh off the plant, myself! That of course is not the challenging part. Removing the needles is. And really, I have to say that the cactus I have growing in my garden are rather tame compared to those growing in the wild. Mine are what some would call 'finos' or fine because they have few needles. These are the kind which produce the deliciously sweet fruit called 'tunas'. The ones in the wild produce fruit which is only very slightly sweet. I was lucky in acquiring a specimen of the variety I have.

I proceeded to look through some YouTube videos to learn how to remove the spines. Tried to do it just being careful with my left hand, and holding the knife in my right hand to remove the pesky needles. Ouch! They got me anyway! So back again to watching the videos. I saw in one how a young lady was wearing some latex gloves. Lucky for my my Sweetie had some in his briefcase from work. So I wore one on my left hand, and held the knife with my ungloved right hand. I then proceeded to scrub the paddles with the knife at an angle, and the needles easily fell off. Also worked the other side. Then I removed the outer edge along the whole perimeter of the paddle. Done! After finishing my stack, it was merely a matter of carefully rinsing them and putting them in a pot to boil. A few minutes later I drained them and proceeded to use them in my recipe for Nopales with Egg and Chorizo. I know I just recently posted about cooking nopales. But this was extra special for me because I harvested these myself! I learned something new! That's what brings me joy. Learning. And let me tell you, chorizo is good with just about anything, even pasta. Maybe next time I'll show my recipe for that.


I also made a simple side of pinto beans with Mexican Queso Fresco.


Made by simply cooking onions, sliced jalapeno peppers, garlic, and finally a couple of chopped tomatoes in a little bit of oil, to which the beans are added and brought to a simmer. Last some diced white cheese is added, along with a little bit of cilantro. Very nice with the nopalitos. Peasant food at its finest! The chorizo gave us just enough 'meat' to feel satisfied with an otherwise meatless meal. And don't forget how nice flour tortillas go with this!

On a different note, I just realized this is actually my 301st post. It feels nice to see that I've stuck with blogging because many times I've wanted to just close it up and forget about it. I'm going to try and challenge myself to stick with it until at least post #500! We'll see how that goes. So until next time happy blogging!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Adoro!

Ever since I can remember, I have loved the songs by Mexican Composer Armando Manzanero. I was looking through YouTube and found several of them, some sung by other artists as well. I have to say I was surprised to find this duet he did with Placido Domingo in front of the Chichen Itza ruins. What surprised me was hearing him sing a few stanzas in Maya language. He explains in the beginning that his Grandmother never spoke Spanish, and that all his interaction with her was in Mayan. What a beautiful story! What a giant of a man in spite of his short stature! This happens to be one of my favorite if not my all time favorite song. Yes, I'm an incurable romantic! Enjoy!



And this would've been another favorite-oh but there are so many of his songs which are absolutely beautiful! The title is "Somos Novios" which means 'We're Boyfriend and Girlfriend', only it sounds so much more formal and romantic in Spanish.



And back again to 'Adoro' because I like this version better.




This is what happens when you stay up late. You blog because during the day there never seems to be enough time to do so.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Cooking and Swagsurfing

Today I prepared a recipe from a fellow bloggie friend Nathan. His recipe for fricassee chicken  turned out to be a keeper! I provide no photos of my own, so please go over to his blog to have a look. Very similar to Mexican Arroz con Pollo, but sans the rice. I did however make a side of white rice, Cuban style, just like Nathan makes it. What a delicious meal! As always, I tweaked a couple of things, by adding mushrooms and thyme for added flavor. Other than that, I stayed true to the recipe.

It does seem as though almost all of my recent blog entries have been about cooking. Which is a good thing, because it simply means I have been inspired by so many in the world of internet blogging. And of course, since I'm already on the computer anyway, of course I also have to do a little bit of swagsurfing while I'm at it. Doesn't hurt to pad up that little nest egg with Swagbucks every chance I get.

What shall I blog about next? Probably about books or maybe sewing. Or my favorite topic: the Grandkids!  But first, a bit of housework awaits me.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Cooking with Yucca Flowers

This post would have looked perfect for St Patrick's Day. All because it' sooooo......green. My pictures are anyway. A couple of days ago Sweetie and I had a late breakfast, aka, brunch consisting of nopalitos which I had in the fridge. Upon further thought, I decided to add a few more ingredients, because that's just how I roll. I'm always looking to add more layers of flavor to my meals. Our little herb garden had some nice cilantro ready for cutting, and I also found some dandelion weeds. Yes, I also cut some weedy greens which were growing nicely in the garden. I wish I had found some quelite or lamb's quarters to add more greenery to my little dish. I also cut some nice spinach leaves, just a few, and mixed in a very few epazote leaves as well. Brought everything inside, and rinsed all the leaves thoroughly. Then I remembered I also had a flower stalk from a wild yucca that Sweetie had brought from the ranch a couple of days before. I had already cleaned and rinsed it, and separated all the little white petals and stored them.

While sauteeing some onions and garlic cloves, I parboiled the nopalitos and then drained out the water. Next, into the pan went all the ingredients, nopalitos and all, and carefully seasoned with salt and pepper. I added some beaten eggs, and tada! Brunch was served! You then decide if you want to eat with a fork, or you can make some nice little tacos. If made with flour tortillas, around here the tacos are called 'mariachis'. Cute name for any taco made with flour tortillas.


This photo is more of a closeup to show the yucca petals, which show as bright green, almost like little pieces of green onions. They do have an unusual taste, they remind me of what steamed cabbage tastes like. A product from nature and the wild- and they're free!

It's just something a little different from the norm we are used to eating. Sometimes we take for granted that there are lots of edible things in our surroundings which can be put to use in our cooking. As long as they are not full of pesticides or chemicals, they're pretty safe to eat. You just have to know what they are. Around here, nopalito season is in full swing. There are so many tasty recipes you can make with them. Many people use them in salads as well. It's always a good idea to try and grow your own. But to use them, you have to know how to remove the prickly needles. I still haven't mastered that technique yet. So I buy mine from the grocery store already peeled and sliced. They're not expensive per se, but they're not cheap either. That's why this year I'm going to try and learn how to do the prepping myself.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

IPhone and Azares

Things have been keeping me occupied for the most part. Things which require an awful lot of my time and attention- and which keep me from blogging. One of them, a very recent acquisition, is this handy little device:


Just one of my feeble attempts to try and stay somewhat up to date on technology- or at least not get left too far behind. It's also an early Anniversary gift from my Sweetie!

Turns out that IPhone is indeed a marvelous tool, but it's something that only young people can really take to like ducks to water. I've been spending too much time just trying to understand how to use it. I suppose it comes with being from a generation that grew up without these marvels of technology.
I'll get it- eventually.

In other news, we've been enjoying another rash of cool weather, with a few drops of rain which fell yesterday. Today, it was mostly windy and cold. Just a few days ago we were basking in days full of budding trees and blossoms everywhere. The air was filled with the intoxicating perfume of citrus flowers or 'azares' as they're called in Spanish. They are also a beautiful sight to behold! I wish everyone could smell these beauties! These are from our pomelo tree.


And once again, I am suffering from the yearly woes of the season- allergies. Hope this passes soon. Next time I hope to share photos of my herb garden. It's coming along very nicely.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Recipe for Sweet Tamales

Seeing as how I'm on a short hiatus from Swagbucks right now because in my zeal to search last night, I pressed the 'enter' button a bit too long and it was read by the site as being multiple and too quick and successive searches, ie, also called 'oversearching'. So I got the infamous 'rules' page, which is basically a little warning to lay off on the searches or risk being deactivated. So what is a girl to do when she can't be using her favorite search engine? Why Blog of course silly!

And seeing as how I've also made a new blogging buddy, who happened to ask for my recipe for sweet tamales, why that just gave me the perfect topic to post about. Nathan, this is for you! Sorry, no pictures of the finished product. Next time I make them I will be sure to take lots of photos.

Authentic Mexican Sweet Tamales


Tea for Dough

1 ½ c water

2-3 cinnamon sticks (small)

3-4 cloves

¼ tsp anise seeds

2 cones of piloncillo (dark brown sugar)

Dash of cardamom (optional)



Filling

1 pkg each of dried fruits (cherries, cranberries)

½ box of dark raisins

½ box of golden raisins

1 pkg (10-12 oz) pecan pieces (or more to taste)

1 pkg of coconut

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Rum or brandy to cover the dried fruits in bowl



Dough-(Masa)

5 lbs. of corn masa fresh from tortilleria(Molino)

1 lb box of lard

1 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup mixed of raisins and dried fruit

Corn husks (about 2 pkgs)

Note: Tea and filling may be prepared up to a week in advance (stored in fridge) if desired. This makes for less work on the day you prepare the tamales.




For Tea: combine all ingredients and simmer until piloncillo melts. Strain liquid when cooled and store covered in fridge.

For Filling: combine all ingredients in a bowl, cover and store in fridge.

For Dough:

I- When ready to make tamales, thoroughly clean and rinse husks. Soak in hot water for at least 20 minutes to soften. Drain, set aside.

II- Slowly melt lard over low heat, just until melted. In mixing bowl place masa, salt and baking powder. Using batter attachment, mix, and slowly add some of the tea to mix the dough until fluffy. Add fruit and the rest of the tea and mix well, stopping mixer in between additions. Slowly add melted lard and mix gently. Continue to add the lard until dough has a very soft consistency, but is spreadable. Stop mixer and place your prepared dough in a container so you can proceed to the next step. I usually place it in a disposable aluminum roasting pan. It makes for a comfortable height to dip into for spreading. Also a snap to clean up when finished! I just discard as it will be very greasy!

III- Using a tablespoon or a serving spoon, spread dough onto the wide part of the corn husk. You can spread a few at a time, and then fill, or if you have someone to help you, one person can spread the dough onto the husks, and the other places the filling and folds the tamal. To fill, place about a heaping tsp of filling (or more to taste) in center of dough. Fold one side of husk over the filling and then the other side of husk over the first side, then the tapered end down over the middle and lay down in layers. When all the dough has been used up, or you run out of filling (hopefully both at the same time) place your tamales in a steamer, arranging them in a vertical position. Cover with additional husks and a dish towel. Pour a kettle and a half of water and steam for about 1 ½ hours, or longer if necessary. Tamales are ready when the dough easily separates from the husk. Enjoy!

Makes about 8-9 dozen tamales

Note: Since we've got the flavors of coconut and rum going on, if you wanted you could also add some chopped pineapple to either the dough or the filling for a pina colada taste! I'm also thinking that if you should have leftover filling, you could use it for one of those fruit cookie bar recipes.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Saucy Alfredo Chicken

Just a short post on what I made for dinner. I like to think it's Chicken Alfredo, because it's saucy. But I do tend to veer away from basic recipes anyway. I like to 'add' lots of extra ingredients. So maybe this is just my "Saucy Chicken" . Looking up a recipe for Creamy Alfredo sauce will yield so many different ways to make it. The important thing is that all it really is is the mixing of any dairy product that will give the creaminess (whipping cream, cream cheese, yogurt, sour cream,etc.) with your aromatics (garlic,onions, celery, and/or green peppers). Some recipes don't use the aromatics at all.

What I did initially was to cut up some boneless chicken breasts and just fry them til golden brown in a little bit of oil, and set aside.


I then just added the garlic first and fried till somewhat browned, then the onions,celery and a little bit of sweet bell pepper (for sweetness). Last I added some butter and proceeded to add mushrooms and some chopped sun ripened tomatoes which I first hydrated in water with some dried chile peppers. Into the pot they all went. At this point you can remove the garlic, which I use whole but crushed so I can easily remove it before the liquids are added.


Last, I merely added about a 1/4 cup of white wine to help deglaze and the whipping cream. Because I wanted lots of sauce, I also added some yogurt. I allowed the cream to simmer down until thick, and added parmesan cheese.


Finally served over a bed of pasta with a side of steamed veggies and topped with more grated parmesan cheese. French or Italian bread optional.


My version and quite simple too actually. We had enough for 4 people and then some leftovers as well. What I did with the leftover pasta was mix it into the saucy chicken for another ready made meal.

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